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Devin Kelley, the suspect in the shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Photo provided to the AP by the Texas Department of Public Safety

Devin Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 people Sunday at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas escaped from a mental health hospital while serving in the Air Force, per the New York Times.

A 2012 police report revealed that Kelley was placed in the psychiatric facility after being charged in a military court for repeatedly assaulting his wife and baby stepson, including one attack that left the boy with a fractured skull. Kelley later pleaded guilty to the charges, and was sentenced to a year in a Navy prison.

Details of his escape:

  • Police took Kelley into custody at a bus station in downtown El Paso where he was planning to flee after escaping from Peak Behavioral Health Services, a hospital a few miles away.
  • The person who reported his escape from the hospital told authorities that Kelley "suffered from mental disorders" and "was a danger to himself." She added that he had made death threats against "his military chain of command" and had been caught sneaking firearms into the base where he was stationed.

Take note: President Trump said Monday that the Texas shooting was a mental health issue, not a guns issue. That's a debate that has continued to crop up after mass shootings.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.